Welcome to Shirley Steffen Studio


Shirley Steffen has been interested in art all her life. She graduated from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. She spent 12 years doing commercial and graphic design. Then taught fine arts at the college level, since has been teaching privately. Studied with Edgar Whitney, Carl Dalio, Irving Shapiro, Pat Weaver, Janet and Steve Rogers. Shirley's mentor for years was Ruth Van Sickle Ford the director of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.
Some of her work includes sights native to Elgin, Illinois and the Fox River Valley. The Lord's Park Pavilion painting (a local landmark) and prints are in public and private collections worldwide. She was born and raised in that area, and was a frequent visitor to neighboring Wisconsin painting some of the familiar land marks, Chuck's Bar in Fontana and the  Lake Geneva Riviera - easily recognized by even the most infrequent visitor. Scenes of Mexico, the Virgin Islands as well as the ski slopes of the western U.S. have become subjects for her paintings. Shirley and her husband have recently made the move to South Florida after being snowbirds for over 20 years. She always carries her camera and sketch pad so is ready to capture most scenes. "There is a feeling that you get about something you see. You just feel that you want to paint it. No matter where I am, I'm always thinking of painting ideas, and taking pictures to paint from".
Shirley teaches individually and small classes, also does 2, 3 and 4 day workshops. Teaching all mediums, water color being her favorite. One major factor in teaching is showing the student how to REALLY SEE. Observing your subject whether a person, an animal or a scene is seeing the nuances of color etc. that the camera and the untrained eye doesn't see. Shirley says "Sometimes the hardest part of being an artist is selecting the subject you wish to paint." All scenes both general and tropical are generally plein air. Plein air is painting from life in the outdoors and completing the picture in one or so trips. Portraits are done from sitting models and from photographs.

   
"Riviera at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin" 15  " x 22  " watercolor
Here is the image mentioned above which is a local historic landmark.